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Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request

by Laura Marshall

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In 1989, Louise had the choice between a real friendship or a hollow friendship with acceptance to the cool crowd. She chose the cool crowd and succeeded in making Maria's life hell with cruel pranks. In 2016, Louise is a divorced single mother who works as an independent interior designer and dotes on her son. One day, she receives a friend request from Maria, who has been missing since prom night 1989 and is presumed dead. Threatening messages follow and Louise has to confront her uncomfortable past and the people from it to find out what actually happened to Maria.

Friend Request is a thriller novel about the past coming back to haunt wrongdoers. Louise is pretty insufferable and spends most of her time bemoaning her teenage mistakes and mooning over her ex-husband who replaced her with a younger woman. Right from the beginning, their relationship was creepy because she said they were everything to each other and didn't bother having any friends. The way she spoke, he seemed to tell her (maybe in not so many words) that no one would want her if they knew what she did. She keeps saying how she's changed, but then goes back to those old bad habits and clearly hasn't. Her penchant for lying to police over and over after someone died is really frustrating and does nothing at all to help her.

The novel is told in chapters from 2016 and from 1989, so we get to see first hand just how Louise was as a teenager. I fundamentally don't understand her as she oscillates for real friends and fake popular friends. It's abundantly clear that Sophie, queen bee, only wants Louise as a "friend" to do her dirty work, to make fun of, and to make herself feel better. Maria wanted to be her real friend and support each other, but then Louise would be the target of those same pranks. Maria also had rumors about her swirling around her about what happened at her old school and that she was promiscuous even though she was harassed by a stalker. Louise gets more and more entrenched in the popular crowd until she commits an unforgiveable act.

Friend Request is a frustrating book with a horrible main character. She never seemed to act in her own best interests. I kept reading to find out what the horrible act was in her past and see what other secrets would be revealed. The ending wasn't suprising. I'm surprised I read the whole book and Laura Marshall's next book has to be incredibly intriguing for me to pick it up after this one. ( )
  titania86 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I’d spotted posters for Friend Request all over the Tube a few months ago and the premise intrigued me. What would you do if you had a Facebook friend request one morning from an old classmate whom you believed to have died twenty-five years before? (Personally I wouldn’t accept it and would report it to Facebook; but I suppose that’s why I’m not the protagonist of a thriller.) It was a tantalising, eerie scenario. I plunged into the story with gusto, reading it in an afternoon, but, maybe inevitably, it didn’t quite live up to expectations. A taut tale of rising tension is muddied towards the end by too many plot strands and a much-hyped twist that felt more melodramatic than plausible...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2018/06/01/friend-request-laura-marshall/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Jun 9, 2018 |
Wow! I totally loved this book and read it over a couple of days. The angst of trying to fit in the cool group at school was perfectly portrayed and brought back so many of my own memories from the 1980s. The contrast to the modern world of Facebook and life as we know it now was superbly done. The mystery kept me guessing until the end. For a debut novel it was brilliant and has firmly cemented Laura Marshall as one of my authors to watch! ( )
  jhullie | Mar 20, 2018 |
When Louise gets a Facebook friend request from Maria, her world stops--Maria is dead. Or at least she's supposed to be. One online notification sends Louise spiraling back into her past, forced to confront her actions and face the fear that everything that happened back then may be about to be revealed.

I really liked the way Marshall explored social media, the idea of presenting our best selves and spinning our identities online. This is a really topical subject, and I enjoyed the way Marshall created such a suspenseful story around it.

And this was a suspenseful story. There's a slow build with a major eeriness factor that had me constantly wondering just what was lurking on the next page. Plus the twist at the end had me completely surprised!

The slow build occasionally felt a little too slow. And while it's, ironically, hard for me to put into words exactly why the writing style felt a little lacking to me, it did. I'm hopeful that is something that will develop as Marshall gets more books under her belt, as her ability to come up with a twisty plot is definitely already there.

You don't need to rush out and buy this book right away, there are definitely some stronger showings in this genre, but the plot twist at the end is really great. Marshall clearly knows how to plot a good story, and how to create a real sense of creepiness in her psychological tales, and I strongly suspect with time everything else will tighten up to match her current strengths. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Jan 25, 2018 |
It's not a good situation when a dead classmate from your past tries to Friend Request you on Facebook, however, it is an excellent and creepy premise for a novel. Louise was a self-conscious teenager, desperate to fit in with her high school peers. In doing so, she ultimately turned on a friend and engaged in bullying, leading to the girls' death. Years later, Louise is a successful designer with a child of her own. However, her secure life is threatened when her "dead friend" threatens to expose her for what she did many years previously. This is a suspenseful novel, although there were points that were farfetched. Told in alternating chapters between the past and present, the tension builds until the last chapter, with an ending I did not predict. ( )
  voracious | Jan 1, 2018 |
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To M, C, and A, with love
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The e-mail arrives in my inbox like an unexploded bomb: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston's dead. Isn't she? 1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything Louise's other friends aren't. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends. 2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: Those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever. Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone with whom she'd severed ties in order to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria-or whoever is pretending to be her-is known to all. With her mesmerizing debut, Laura Marshall offers a timely and essential story of how who we were shapes who we become, the hidden cost of our increasingly connected world, and the dangerous shape that revenge can take in our modern era"--Jacket.… (more)

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